tv PBS News Hour PBS July 7, 2011 3:00pm-4:00pm PDT
captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> woodruff: both president obama and republican congressional leaders used positive language, for a change, to describe today's white house meeting on reducing the nation's debt. good evening, i'm judy woodruff. >> brown: and i'm jeffrey brown. on the "newshour" tonight, we have the latest on the politics and public opinion in the race to piece together a budget deal before the u.s. defaults on its financial obligations. >> woodruff: margaret warner has the details on the phone hacking probe that led to the surprise shutdown of the 168-year-old british tabloid "news of the world." >> brown: we look at the obama administration's decision to reverse a long-standing policy and send condolence letters to
families of military suicides. >> woodruff: miles o'brien reports on the endurance and isolation experiments that could pave the way for future manned missions to mars. >> i don't think anyone knows the answer for that the right formula is for the composition of a crew except that they're going to have to be daring, self reliant, and capable of responding to any kind of unanticipated situation. >> brown: and ray suarez remembers n.f.l. hall-of-famer john mackey, whose struggle with dementia after his pro career focused attention on the link between football and brain disease. >> woodruff: that's all ahead on tonight's "newshour." major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> oil companies make huge profits. >> last year, chevron made a lot of money. >> where does it go? >> every penny and more went into bringing energy to the world. >> the economy is tough right now, everywhere. >> we pumped $21 million into local economies, into small businesses, communities,
equipment, materials. >> that money could make a big difference to a lot of people. >> and by the bill and melinda gates foundation. dedicated to the idea that all people deserve the chance to live a healthy productive life. and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and... this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> woodruff: high-level democrats and republicans alike said today's meeting at the white house marked the beginning of the end game in reaching a final deal on deficit reduction.
the president and congressional leaders convened in the white house cabinet room, amid talk of a grand bargain involving social security, medicare and tax reform. when it was over, mr. obama made an unscheduled appearance in the briefing room. >> i thought it was a very constructive meeting. people were frank. we discussed the various options available to us. everybody re-confirmed the importance of completing our work and raising the debt limit ceiling so that the full faith and credit of the united states is not impaired. >> woodruff: the president said talks between leaders and staffers would continue in the coming days with negotiators meeting again sunday at the white house. but he acknowledged that hard bargaining lies ahead. >> nothing is agreed to until everything is agreed to. the parties are still far apart on a wide range of issues.
everybody acknowledged that there is going to be pain involved politically on all sides but our biggest obligation is to make sure we're doing the right thing by the american people. >> woodruff: the president offered little in the way of specifics, but it was widely reported that he's seeking up to $4 trillion in savings over ten years, instead of $2.4 trillion. the reductions would come from a combination of spending cuts; reforms in medicare and social security and upward of $1 trillion in new revenue from changes in the tax code. that squares with the obama call last week that lawmakers do something big as part of a deal to increase the nation's borrowing authority. after meeting with house republicans this morning in advance of the white house session, house speaker john boehner confirmed that reforming the tax code was on the table. >> we believe that comprehensive tax reform, both on the
corporate side and the personal side, will make america more competitive, help create jobs in our country, and is something that is under discussion. >> woodruff: on the senate side, republican mike lee of utah-- a freshman elected with tea party backing-- said the idea could draw his support. >> i'd have to see what they're talking about, because there's a difference between revenue raisers and tax increases. tax increases are not something republicans in the house and senate are not going to support. >> woodruff: but senate majority leader harry reid insisted that republicans must back-off their anti-tax hike stance if there's to be any chance of a deal. >> democrats are willing to go on the record saying we believe all americans, including those who can afford private jets and yachts, should contribute to the collective effort to reduce the deficit. the question is, why aren't republicans willing to do the same? >> woodruff: other democrats voiced concern about giving
ground on social security and medicare. arizona congressman raul grijalva co-chairs the house progressive caucus. >> if social security, medicare and medicaid are on the table, at least that's the discussion, the deal that we've read, then we cannot support that deal. we understand it could be restructuring of social security or medicare, but cuts to beneficiaries, cuts to benefits, raising the retirement age, all of that is off the table. >> woodruff: those positions will have to be reconciled if congress is to craft the debt ceiling bargain that the president envisions before the august 2nd deadline. otherwise, the government risks default on the nation's financial obligations. for more, we turn to naftali bendavid, congressional correspondent for the "wall street journal." and andy kohut, president of the pew research center. it's good to you have both with us. naftali, let's start with
you. they are talking about a big deal, so what could that entable? >> it probably entails a lot of political peril for both sides because it would entail adjustments to things like social security and medicare which democrats are pretty much dead set against and it would have to include some kind of tax increases to reach the kind of $4 trillion figure they're talking about. it would also involve a tremendous number of cuts to spending across the board including the military. so i think what they are talking about essentially is holding hands an jumping off a cliff, something that would involve some pain for both sides. >> so when, but republicans clearly are still not there when it comes to tax increases. we heard senator mike lee saying well it's one thing to talk about revenue raises but we're to the going to talk about tax increases. how do you read what republicans are thinking and are prepared to do on taxes? >> i think they are prepared it to increase taxes but i think has to be defined and described in a politically palatable way. one person's tax increase is somebody else's ending wasteful subsidies. but it amounts to the same thing in the sense that somebody's taxes are going to gup. and what help cans have said is they're willing to accept
the end of a lot of tax breaks as long as overall tax rates go down. and i think that's the kind of thing we're talking about here. >> and this idea that it has to be revenue neutral, can revenue be raised? is that something republicans are prepared to vote for? >> well, i think in the end, they probably would be willing to accept an increase in revenue, as long as some tax rates went down at the same time. but this is the grand bargain we're talking about. democrats are going to have to accept things they said they never would accept like changes to social security. and republicans are going to have to accept some tax increases. now the question and what republicans and democrats are trying to figure out in the next couple of days is can they pull that off. >> the language, we describe the language today as positive for a change. do you see it that way? i mean is there some feeling in the air that they are headed for some kind of an agreement? >> i mean absolutely. i think there is. a couple days ago i would have thought that maybe they are being so stubborn they
will run into a wall. but at the meeting today president obama went around the table, you know, and he asked everybody. dow want to go for a small deal, a medium deal and large deal. and by far the majority of the people on both sides of the aisle said they wanted to go for the biggest possible deal, this $4.5 trillion deficit reduction agreement. and to me that suggests there is a certain amount of momentum behind some sort of deal. >> woodruff: andy kohut you have been looking at what the american public thinks about the deficit, the debt. what dow find when you look at public opinion in terms of how they see the debt, and what they think is caused the debt. >> well, the debt and deficit concern about it are at an all-time high. interestingly, we did a poll a few weeks ago which showed 60% saying that great contributions of this for the wars in afghanistan and iraq only 24% said increased domestic spending. and while there is a lot of focus on domestic spending, if you talk to the ode person, it's -- that
spending is seen as -- if it involves waste, fraud and abuse. but when benefits or when the entitlements are considered, that's not considered waste, fraud and abuse. >> so when you -- when you asked him about the trade-off they're prepared to accept in terms of, you know, how much cutting are you as a citizen prepared to see, to deal with the debt what do you find? >> surprisingly, when you ask about what is more important, preserving benefits for social security and medicare, or reducing deficit or the debt, 2 to 1 people say preserve our benefits. there is very little give there. now republicans are of the -- more of the view that reducing the deficit should be given high priority. but even among republicans it's really interesting. there is a big income
divide. affluent republicans say it is more important to reduce the deficit but poorer republicans, middle class and lower middle class republicans say no, no, protect our benefits. >> woodruff: and are these attitudes, andy, that have changed over time with all the attention that's now being give tone the size of the debt and the urgency of the problem. >> you know, people are willing to do a lot of things to reduce this deficit. the concern is at an all-time high but when it comes to entitlements, there's no movement. it really is rock solid when we see 2 to 1 margins. >> and again entitlements meaning social security. >> and even medicaid, having states raise -- make it -- reduce eligibility for medicaid, not 2 to 1 but a solid majority say no let's not do that. >> woodruff: naftali -- with public opinion aside, what sort of divide or is there
one among the leadership in the democratic or republican parties between the rank and file. >> i think that is one of the most interesting dynamics we're seeing. president obama and speaker boehner feel is in their interest to have a historic grand deal that could burnish their legacy but the rank and file members, they have to run for reelection not too far from now. so any grand deal that includes benefit cuts to social security and medicare, that includes tax increases they are more resistant to. there are a couple things that have to happen. obama and "babe"er have to agree and they have to sell it to their members and both of those things are equally important. >> i guess one of the overriding senses that one gets out of all this is that more of the debt reduction would come from cuts, from cuts in entitlement than it would on the revenue side is that pretty much a given. >> that is pretty much a given. i think there is something about the way the political landscape has evolved that people are willing to accept far more cuts, even democrats, spending cuts rather than tax increases. i mean tax increases have
become such anathema, such political poison in the dialogue i think people are talking about a 3-to-1 ratio or approaching that. >> and that is completely opposite to public opinion. when we say push comes to shove if you have to do something, what would you rather see with respect to these entitlements. revenues increased or tax increased or benefits cut. people say raise taxes, raise cost but don't cut those benefits. >> and you see that across-the-board. >> see that across-the-board. >> republican, what about republican versus democrat. >> there is a gap on this but when you get such large 2 to 1 margins and have this class division among the republican party that is potentially big stuff come election time, there will be a huge cry and howl if benefits are seen to have been -- to have been cut here. >> so i hear you saying some of the public reaction is going to depend on how it is described to the american people, whatever f they come
up with an agreement. >> right. >> i mean there is support for raising the contribution cap and doing things like that. but the motion that the retirement ages will be delayed or in some way people are going to have to pay a larger share of their medicare costs out of their pocket, all of those things are very unpopular. >> finally what happens between now and sunday. >> well, between now and sunday the staffers on both sides are going to get together and talk and try to come out with some rough ideas for the members of congress and the president to talk about on sunday. they should really be kind of an incredible and important meeting. they will start in the afternoon. it's widely expected they'll go for hours and hours into sunday evening and i think we'll find out at that meeting whether a grand deal is really possible. >> woodruff: we know what are you going to be doing this weekend. won't be relaxing. naftali bendavid, andy cohutt -- kohut thank you v >> brown: still to come on the "newshour": the british tabloid phone-hacking scandal; military condolences for suicides; manned
missions to mars and remembering n.f.l. hall of famer john mackey. but first, the other news of the day. here's hari sreenivasan. >> sreenivasan: wall street rallied today on upbeat economic reports. first-time jobless claims fell to a seven-week low and retailers reported the best sales for the month of june in more than ten years. the dow jones industrial average responded with a gain of 93 points to close at 12,719. the nasdaq rose more than 38 points to close at 2,872. power plants in 27 states will have to curb smokestack pollution carried across state lines. the environmental protection agency proposed a new rule today. it says plants must install technology to reduce two pollutants-- sulfur dioxide, responsible forcid rain, and nitrogen oxides, which add to smog and soot. the rule is scheduled to take effect next year. medicaid coverage could mean better health and financial security for millions more of the poor and uninsured. researchers at harvard and m.i.t. reported today on a study in oregon comparing 10,000 medicaid recipients to the
uninsured. 70% were more likely to visit a regular doctor's office or clinic. and 55% were more likely to have a regular primary care doctor. they were also 40% less likely to borrow money or skip paying other bills, in order to pay for health care. medicaid is expected to add at least 15 million people nationwide in 2014 under health care reform. two american soldiers died in a roadside bombing in iraq today. it happened outside the main u.s. military base in baghdad. attacks on u.s. forces have stepped up lately, and american officials have blamed shiite militias. canada has formally ended its combat mission in afghanistan today after nine years. since 2002, approximately 157 canadian soldiers have died in the war. now, more than 2800 combat troops are being withdrawn. but canada is sending in 950 other troops to train afghan security forces.
a mexican man-- humberto leal was convicted in the 1994 rape- murder of a 16-year-old girl in san antonio. but he was not told he could seek legal help from the mexican government. that prompted diplomatic objections and warnings of repercussions for americans overseas. the obama administration intervened to try to delay the execution. those are some of the day's major stories. now, back to judy. >> woodruff: the phone hacking scandal in britain came full comes full circle today, with word that the "news of the world" tabloid will cease to publish after 168 years in business. margaret warner has the story. >> warner: the news electrified britain-- sunday's edition of "news of the world"-- the most widely read english language newspaper in the world-- will be its last. in sun valley, idaho today, media mogul rupert murdoch-- owner of parent company news corporation-- had no comment on the tabloid's closure. but his son james murdoch said
in a statement to staffers: fundamentally, action taken a number of years ago by certain individuals, in what had been a good newsroom have breached the trust that the news of the world has with its readers. >> warner: those mistakes first came to light in 2005 when "news of the world" was accused of hacking into cell phone messages of members of the royal family and famous actors. other revelations followed, amid an ongoing but fitful police inquiry. this week, public outrage exploded with leaks from that inquiry, that the family of a murdered teenager milly dowler had been victimized. a private detective working for "news of the world" allegedly hacked her voice mail after she disappeared in 2002, and deleted some messages. the activity on her phone account gave them false hope she was still alive. then yesterday, relatives of
victims of london's so-called 7/7 terror attacks in 2005 said they'd been told their messages may have been tapped. >> it is hard to imagine that at the lowest points of your life, you could get any lower, and then hearing that somebody may have been listening to those very intimate conversations and then you realize that things can get lower. how people can get up in the morning and think that it is a good idea for the sake of a story is beyond me. >> warner: today, news reports today said bereaved iraq and afghan war military families were victimized, too. scotland yard now says up to 4,000 people may have been targeted, in all. investigators are also looking into allegations that "news of the world" paid members of london's metropolitan police for information. the scandal prompted ford motor and a host of other companies to pull their ads from "news of the world." there are political implications too. in an emergency debate
yesterday, members of parliament of both parties excoriated murdoch and his newspaper. but prime minister david cameron stopped short of calling for a separate official inquiry. >> what this government is doing is making sure that the fact the public and i feel so appalled about what has happened. murder victims, terrorist victims who have had their phones hacked is quite disgraceful and that is why it is important that there is a full police investigation with all the powers that they need. >> warner: labor leader ed miliband pointedly noted that a former "news of the world" editor had been part of cameron's inner circle. andy coulson was forced to resign as downing street communications chief in january as the phone hacking scandal gained momentum. >> he hasn't shown the leadership necessary on news international and isn't it the case, if the public is to have confidence in him he has got to come with the thing that is most difficult. he has got to accept that he made a catastrophic error of judgement by bringing andy coulson into the heart of his
downing street machine. >> warner: the fate of another former top "news of the world" editor rebekah brooks remains unclear. for now, she remains c.e.o. of the paper's parent company in britain, news international. there may be implications for murdoch's proposed $12 billion takeover of the cable television network british sky broadcasting as well. his news corporation already owns three other newspapers in britain and, in this country, "the wall street journal", "fox news" and the "new york post" among others. this afternoon, reports surfaced that the company might replace the sunday "news of the world" with another murdoch publication. its sister paper "the sun" -- published weekly and saturday-- could add a sunday edition. for more on this story, we turn to ned temko, a writer for the "observer" newspaper in london. ned, welcome back, thanks for being with us. so what was the thinking behind this dramatic
decision to shut down this very profitable newspaper? >> well, the best description i've heard this evening is that this is the first newspaper in history to die of shame. but that's not strictly true. it was a commercial decision. it was a huge exercise in damage limitation, advertisements were being pulled. there was some sign that circulation would be under threat. and there was just a dramatic way of attempting, at least to cut their losses. >> now it's been known for years that news of the world used private investigators, some of them were tapping phones of people. and the british public seems to have a sort of ho-hum attitude about it. why did it suddenly turn on them that week? >> well, that's a great point. i think they mostly had a ho-hum attitude because the victims until this week were seeing and in fact were mps, members of the parliament that is, actors, either rich
or influential people and there wasn't a huge resonance in the pubs and on the playgrounds and elsewhere in britain. of sympathy for these guys. but when it got to the point where the family or the victim herself, milley, the poor 13-year-old girl whos were abducted, the parents of two children who were abducted near cambridge, the families of terror victims, of british soldiers killed in afghanistan and iraq this raised it to a whole different level. >> now what sorts of stories did these investigators -- what sort of stories did all this hacking produce? >> well, in the case of celebrities it was tittle-tattle, the kind of thing that sold newspapers. you've got to remember, the news of the world was now selling far less like all newspaper as than it was in
the 60 ease when murdoch bought it, was still selling 2.8 million copies a a week. and a lot of its fare was basically celebrity gossip. and no better way to get it, it appears than to listen in on voice-mail messages for the people you're reporting about. >> warner: but then average people what do they get out of those? >> i mean basically i can't judge because i have never done it but one could only imagine in the case, for instance, of the terror victims on july 7th, 2005, initially there was huge confusion. a lot of people were missing. the details of just what damage was caused, how many victims was still very much up in the air. and i could only imagine that by tapping in on these voice-mail messages, they hope to hear from the police, from medical authorities and others what they were saying privately to the families of those who are missing. it was basically lazy journalism and it was a
shortcut to basically asking sources and getting the facts. >> now one of the most sinister subjects to come out of these leagues is that the police and even scottland yard had been compromised in some respects by news of the world. >> yeah, that's true. and certainly the police -- the police seem to accept this allegation and the allegation is that routinely the news of the world was paying at least some police officers at scotland yard which is the london police force presumably for information. the open question and the one that could be immensely damaging politically is whether there was any connection between these alleged payments and the fact that an inn earlier police inquiry into this some years ago was so a nem -- anemic t basically exonerated everybody involved and took the initial word of news international executives that this was just a rogue reporter and one investigator and it wasn't a practise that was wide spread. something that is clearly
not true now. >> warner: and what about other newspapers. i noticed in the debate yesterday in parliament some mp+ not only tarring murdoch but all the british press for using quote similar ago tims, do they? >> well, i think the answer is we don't know but one of the two inquiries that the government seems minded to set up will look into practices across the media industry. and i think it's widely accepted that if not phone hacking there are practices that particularly in the united states would be seen as very close to the edge if not over the edge. for instance the news of the world in addition to this phone hacking routinely had reporters basically masquerade as in some cases arab sheik businessmen to basically entrap people into doing something that was embarrassing or even potentially illegal. and that was kind of a stock and trade. and i don't think that was
limited to news of the world. but obviously one of the things this inquiry will try to look into is how wide spread it was. >> warner: and then back to murdoch, attacks on him came from mps from both both parties yesterday, one is that a big turn about and what are people you are talking to say that this whole thing may mean for murdoch and his empire, not only there but elsewhere, u.s., worldwide? >> well, first of all it is a huge turn around. less so in the case of the leader of the opposition, because after all he's not likely to be prime minister any time soon. but it is a huge change in that the pattern over the last 10 to 15 years is that all major political party leaders have been kind of competing to woo murdoch and his title on the assumption that if you want to get into number 10 downing street you better have him on your side. now i think that was beginning to wane but it has
certainly changed now. as for what it means for murdoch, the main immediate concern he'll have is another pending decision about an application for his company to take over full ownership as you said in your piece of sky broadcasting here. that decision was supposed to to be answer this week. it's been announced just hours ago that it's now been kicked into the long grass and it will be decided at the earliest in september. >> as i understand it that bskyb's revenues are bigger than news of the world. ned temko, thank you very much. >> thank you. >> brown: now, president obama takes a step to better acknowledge suicides in the u.s. military. under the new decision, the president would send his condolences to families of soldiers who commit suicide in combat zones. it follows years of increasing
focus on the issue. last year, for instance, there were 468 suicides throughout the entire armed forces-- more than died in combat in iraq and afghanistan. 301 were in the regular army, reserves and national guard up more than 20% from the year before. there were 54 air force suicides -- the most since 1994. suicides in the u.s. marine corps fell nearly 30%. the navy saw a slight decline as well. for years, service chiefs and the secretaries of the army, navy and air force did send condolence letters to the families. but in most cases, the commander-in-chief did not. but his statement yesterday, president obama said it's time to change that policy, at least for those in combat zones. he said, "these americans served our nation bravely. they didn't die because they were weak. and the fact that they didn't get the help they needed must change."
military officials have long downplayed a direct correlation between war experiences and suicide. >> i think it's a combination of when you look at our suicides, about a third of them happen before somebody has deployed with no history of deployment. about a third happen during a deployment and about a third in the year after they return home. >> brown: but former soldiers say that what they see on the battlefield can have profound effects, both while they are there and after they return home. >> brown: is it hard for marines to admit that they have this problem because it feels like weakness? >> a little bit. a lot of it you just don't
realize it. >> brown: the army vice chief of staff responding to the president's action acknowledged this week that wars do inflict hidden damage he said in a blog post, "the persistent high operational tempo. the terrible things some have seen or experienced in combat, have undoubtedly taken a toll on them. many are struggling with the invisible wounds, including traumatic brain injury, post- traumatic stress, depression and anxiety." the new policy went into effect two days ago and it's not retroactive. for more, we go to retired army general ronald griffith. he was army vice chief of staff from 1995-1997. he's now a consultant. and former first lt. paul rieckhoff is the executive director of iraq and afghanistan veterans of america, which advocates on behalf of veterans. paul rieckhoff i will start with you. in what ways was this move by the president important? what was the problem it
addresses? >> i think it addresses the problem that soldiers were dying in the theatre of combat and they weren't properly recognized by the president and by our nation. so you've got these folks who ef's taken their own lives in the line of duty, a month in the army -- army alone there were 27 of them. and this recognizes their sacrifice, it recognizes their service and it tells the families that they are appreciated by their president. it's a small step but i think it symbolically is a big one. in that it can help erode the stigma which is the biggest problems we face in combatting these types of problems. >> brown: and there has been a long-running debate over there. was there a lot of pressure on the military and white house to make a move like this? >> i think there was. i mean from add vos -- advocacy groupsing military family supportive groups t sounds like this las been in the works, and folks like the general have been powerful advocates for the community. but we have to recognize that there is a much deeper, much bigger problem at the root here. the suicides that you mentioned are only really the tip of a much larger
iceberg because those are only the suicides that happen on active duty. when folks come home, they leave the military, they detach from the department of defence, they become veterans. the number of veteran suicides we see is much higher anecdotally but we don't know. there's no tracking mechanism right now for a veteran who has been out for six months or for five years and then takes his own life. we need increased focus on that part of this equation as well. >> brown: let me bring in general griffith. do you think this was a useful move and have you seen a change in the thinking within the military about suicide and depression? >> well, i clearly have seen a great deal of concern on the part of the army leadership in the last three or four years with regard to suicide. there is clearly, and gi back to the general's comments which were given in part another point that the general made in those same remarks was that the army is tired. the soldiers most particularly our combat arms
soldiers have been deployed and redeployed again. and the tempo has just been extraordinary. and the pressures of the combat environment are extreme. and so i think clearly we have seen in the latter part of these two conflicts,the latter years of these two conflicts the suicide rates go up. so i think there's no doubt that the combat environment, the deployment, the wear and tear on our people is a contributor. and i think that when we do it as a soldier for any time we lose a soldier it is unfortunate. it is particularly unfortunate when one takes his own life or she takes her own life and so yes, i think it's appropriate. >> and have you seen a growing awareness of this. you mention the leadership. what about middle and lower ranks, where these things are likely to take place after all. do you think there's a better understanding of the pressures that are you
talking about and the general is talking about? >> i think clearly within the senior commission officer ranks, the officer ranks of the army there is a keen awareness of this. there has been a lot of talk recently about -- talk recently about resiliency training. we prepare our soldiers well physically for the environments, we prepare them for training for the operational demands of the environment and i think it's important as the army is doing now, the psychological preparation of soldiers, the resiliency training that has become not only widely employed across the force but also widely accepted based on all the feedback i get at all levels of the army. >> now paul rieckhoff, are you suggesting though that this is only a small step t doesn't go far enough it does only deal with suicides, for example, that take place in war zones. and majority -- majority, as far as we know take place when soldiers and marines come back home.
>> that's right. about two-thirds of the recent active duty suicides have happened outside of combat theatre. so this will, you know, only impact a small percentage of the overall group affected. but i think this event, this change in policy should serve as a wake-up call. we have a major problem in this country with suicides both on active duty and in the veteran's community. we're losing a soldier every 36 hours to suicide that is a major problem. and again we're not even tracking the 2.3 million veterans who have come home and cycled out of the military since 9/11. we have thousands of members all across the country and this is the issue, they come up to me and say you have to talk about suicide. you have to get us help this is a goodz step forward to reducing stigma but we need to galvanize the country and the president can lead the way here on fully mobilizing people behind tackling suicide. as an example, we have a critical shortage of qualified mental health care workers throughout the military and va. the president can make a national call to action f you want to serve your country, be a qualified
medical worker g to school, become qualified, that will help us reduce claims backlogs that will help us get relief it will give these folks the support and hope that they need. because we've been talking about this issue for going on five, six years. we're going to be back on your program again because this problem is going to continue to grow unless we get immediate and really comprehensive approaches to tackling the larger problem. >> general griffith, address that because that stigma that he is talking about, and we saw it in that little clip where i was talking to the marine, that stigma is real. >> everybody i have ever talked w we've done many stories on this in the program. the stigma seems to be real. how do you get past that. >> clearly i think the stigma is real. and i must in candour say that when i first heard this announcement, i was not completely sold it was the right thing to do. >> brown: in what ways, what were your concerns? >> because not every soldier who dies by suicide dies under honorable conditions. there have been
circumstances of suicides as a result of less than honorable actions on the parts of individuals. after having been made myself more informed on the issue, i think what we are doing is appropriate because it does leave the latitude, as i understand the policy, for a field commander to recommend to the department in this particular case, the letter from the president would not be appropriate. so it is not a wholesale matter as i understand it. there are exceptions and again i go back to my experiences in vietnam there were cases in vietnam where i am aware of suicides that would not have been appropriate for the letters to go. >> brown: and what about going the further step which is to that majority of suicides and of course all the depression out there that takes place outside of the war zone. >> well, i clearly think that again if it takes place while a soldier is on active duty the commander needs to have input and make recommendations to whether such would be appropriate or not for the president to
send a letter. most of these soldiers certainly coming out or should be if they are not, they should be within the veteran's administration system. and so there's monitoring that goes on in that for thaum i think also informs. and i agree that if it is a result of the truma of combat, that it is fully appropriate for the president to recognize that and acknowledge it with a letter to the family. >> brown: and a brief last word paul reich off, -- rieckhoff you are saying we have a long way to go until we get there. >> we have a huge way to gchlt and these folks are coming home to the toughest economy in decades to roughly 20% unemployment that is what we see in our membership. and roughly one fourth, one-third are coming home with post traumatic stress disorder, severe depression. i'm meeting folks who are doing five, six, seven tours so the yen is right. they're tired. but we need to mobilize the entire country behind really supporting them. because i'm not seeing it in the field nationwide when they are coming home. it's really patchwork and we
have a long way to go before we see that number start to decline. >> brown: paul rieckhoff, general ronald griffith, thank you very much. >> thank you very much. >> thank you, sir. >> woodruff: now, as astronauts and scientists are getting set for the end of the space shuttle era in the united states, "newshour" science correspondent miles o'brien looks at how the russians have been preparing for the rigors of future flights to mars. >> reporter: it's a long journey into time, not space, a mission to mars and back that never got off the ground by design. >> my family, i miss them a lot. my friends. in general, i miss the randomness of the world. >> reporter: six men are now on their way back home virtually more than a year after they virtually launched six months after they landed on mars also virtually. >> after one year in our house, i am feeling good.
we have had a lot of fun together. we went though long period of monotony but even through that period we kept good spirits together. >> reporter: welcome to the mars 500 isolation experiment where they are simulating many of the psychological aspects of a real mission to the red planet five miles from red square. three russians, two europeans and one chinese volunteer stepped into a windowless hermetically sealed mock spacecraft at the institute of biomedical problems on june 3rd of 2010 hoping not to break the seal for 520 days, thus matching the six month flight to and from mars, plus a month to explore the surface. >> psychological aspect is important the main task is to create a team that is able to come to this long mission to mars what is more important to come back.
>> reporter: living in tight quarters with tight rations and limited water, they have conducted experiments, maintained systems, exercised, grappled with simulated power and communication outages, a fall while two of them walked in bulky suits on a mock mars, and in between tried to stave off the boredom in some creative ways. >> i have for you today very nice message. >> reporter: communication is not in real time-- the farther the distance from earth, the longer the delay. so to interview them, i had to submit questions and then wait. what's the most important attribute in a person who would go on a mission to mars. >> i think that the two necessary attributes would be tolerance and open-mindedness and because we are an international group and environment. so we need to be able to understand and cope with all the
others traditions. >> reporter: the russians first began simulating long space missions in 1968, but also have lots of experience with the real thing on the salyut, mir and international space stations. why bother with this cross between space camp and a reality show? former nasa astronaut leroy chiao logged 190 days aboard the international space station starting in 2004. he says there is scientific value in this odd mission. so it's not space camp on steroids? >> no. i don't think this is any fun. it's a serious study. you're basically going away for over a year and you didn't even knock off a convenience store or anything. >> reporter: chiao trained in russia and went to the station on a russian rocket with a russian cosmonaut crewmate.
he says over the years the russians have learned a lot about selecting compatible crews. are the russians better at this right now simply because they have more experience? >> i think so. i think we've learned to listen to them and know that this is important and take it into consideration. but because they've been doing it longer and they do a lot more psychological evaluation if you will, a lot of it which is poo- pooed by-- or was at least in my time was poo-pooed by nasa medical folks as kind of hocus- pocus and unnecessary. >> reporter: indeed, when nasa first put its toe in the long duration space pool with skylab in 1973 crew selection was not a science at all. owen garriott spent 60 days aboard skylab and got along famously with his crewmates not necessarily by design. how much time was spent thinking about the psychological rigors in advance? >> interesting question. we had a psychiatrist assigned to us. and i remember the telephone i
got after the flight which is my first conversation with the psychiatrist. and so yes, there was one. but i would say that was minimal... minimal interaction. >> reporter: but those were different days, the astronauts were a homogeneous lot. >> they were all test pilots, they flew together, they trained together, they all have similar backgrounds, so there's no problem. but that's not the kind of crew you're going to have for international flight to mars. you've gotta have all of the disciplines, all of the genders in perspective and ages and so forth, you need to take some extra time that we didn't have to do at the very beginning of the space program. >> reporter: for norm thagard impossible for him to conduct scientific experiments he was slated to complete during his 115 day mission to mir in 1995. tell me about this idea of trying to simulate these missions, the mars 500, is that useful? >> i'm not a fan of the simulations. to me, it's like practicing pain
and you can never duplicate the fact that the real crew would be on a mission with a specific purpose and these folks are just trying to live through a long duration simulation. >> reporter: nasa is not participating directly in mars 500. believe it not, a nuclear non proliferation law prohibits it, but the agency has conducted similar isolation studies in the past and nasa experts on human physiology and psychology in space are watching the mars 500 closely. dr. john charles is among them. >> i don't think anybody knows the answer for what the right formula is for the composition of a crew. except that they're going to have to be obviously brave, daring, self-reliant and capable of responding to any kind of unanticipated situation. >> reporter: so there's no manual for this? >> not at the moment. hopefully by 2029 there will be. >> reporter: you're writing the manual. >> yeah. we're doing the research that will go into the manual, yeah. >> reporter: nasa is eyeing the international space station as a site for interplanetary mission
simulations >> so what we think we can do is we can use the station to demonstrate a portion of that 180-day transit to mars. >> reporter: bill gerstenmeier is head of space operations for nasa. starting next summer he hopes to simulate mars mission on the space station by limiting communication, shutting the window blinds and reducing the size of astronaut quarters. >> the thing that we can learn is, how do you really prepare the astronauts for that autonomy what we call it. and there may actually be some benefit to the autonomy here. we've gotten in this mode where they could call down and ask but maybe there's some advantage for some research activities where they're better off doing their own research. >> reporter: in a simpler more shoestring campy kind of way, that is what this simulation is all about. an advocacy group called the mars society stages mock missions to the red planet on devon island in the canadian arctic and in the utah desert. volunteers live in a small habitat, limit their food and water intake and only step outside in pretend space suits
to try and see what challenges astronauts might encounter doing field work on mars. aerospace engineer robert zubrin is the founder of the mars society. >> people can take isolation. but what the mission is about is field exploration. >> reporter: zubrin is the leading proponent of a relatively inexpensive, bold, risky piloted mission to the red planet that he details in a book titled the case for mars. he says humans can reach the mars with three launches of a heavy lift rocket which is on the drawing board at california based space exploration technologies. two staging missions, and a third launch which would carry two astronauts to the surface. if a president stood up today and said, "we choose to go to mars." could nasa do it? >> i think we could do it within 10 years. i think the technological challenges are significantly
less than those involved in going to the moon where in the 1960s relative to our current level of space technology and technology in general. >> reporter: but nasa believes mars direct is way too risky and besides, there is no mars program, only vague hints that the agency is headed in that direction now that the space shuttle era is over. >> i believe we can send humans to orbit mars and return them safely to earth. and a landing on mars will follow. and i expect to be around to see it. ( applause ) >> reporter: not exactly a we choose the moon rallying cry. so for space enthusiasts who would like to see humans on mars, simulations like these may be all there is for many years to come, despite the obvious flaws. you know in the back of your mind that if something should go wrong, you're still on earth. >> we do the best that we can with the tools we have on hand.
and there is -- it is known for a fact that isolation itself is -- is a very big -- very big issue, and it produces, it has a lot of consequences on your body and on your mind. >> reporter: and no matter how much they learn about those consequences, without the mandate and the money to go explore for real, it will remain a mission to nowhere. >> brown: finally tonight, ray suarez remembers john mackey, the hall of fame football player who had an impact on and off the field. >> reporter: he revolutionized the role of tight end in the national football league and later fought for stronger health benefits for retired players as a leader in the n.f.l. players association. john mackey played for the baltimore colts from 1963 to 1971 and later for the san diego
chargers. he led the colts to two super bowls, including a victory over the dallas cowboys in 1971 alongside teammate quarterback johnny unitas. in that game, he ran what was at the time the longest touchdown pass in a superbowl. during his ten-year career, he caught 331 passes for 5,236 yards and 38 touchdowns, leading to his election to the pro football hall of fame in 1992. but he was diagnosed with dementia when he was just 60 years old and mackey spent years in this assisted living facility in baltimore. >> remember this jacket, honey? honey, stand up, look at me. he's smiling! he's got his hall of fame jacket on and he's smiling! >> reporter: we sat down with him and his wife for a report on n.f.l. players and brain trauma
in october 2009. sylvia mackey said she believed a career in the n.f.l. left her husband with chronic tramatic encepholopathy, or c.t.e., a degenerative brain disease. >> are there good days and bad days? >> yes. and great days and not so great days. >> reporter: on the good days, how is it different from what we're seeing now from mr. mackey? >> on good days, he'll get up and walk up and down. he'll throw and catch the ball. actually, today would be a good day if it won't for the twitching, they call it a jerk. >> reporter: and speech? >> he doesn't talk anymore, very rarely. >> reporter: despite that, mackey could still throw a football around and had some memories of his glory days. >> who did you play for, did you play for the baltimore who? baltimore?
>> colts. >> right! that's right. >> reporter: healthcare for former players like mackey has been an issue in negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement for current players. an nfl lockout has been underway since march. in honor of john's jersey number "88," an n.f.l. labor agreement ratified in 2006 does include a plan that provides up to $88,000 a year for care for ex-players with dementia or alzheimer's disease. today in new york, as labor talks continued, mackey was remembered as the heart and soul of the players union. >> there are few leaders i think in the history of football that could ever match a man like john. and while he suffered from a number of degenerative conditions over the last few years, i will always remember john as someone who was a tremendous, emotional, eloquent,
brilliant leader. >> reporter: john mackey died last night in baltimore, maryland. he was 69 years old. >> woodruff: again, the major developments of the day: president obama and congressional leaders discussed a possible debt reduction bargain that includes social security, medicare and tax reform. the president called the talks very constructive. a scandal over hacking into private phones took a stunning turn with word that the "news of the world" tabloid will cease to publish after 168 years in business. and wall street moved close to its highs for the year. the dow jones industrial average gained more than 90 points. and to hari sreenivasan for what's on the "newshour" online. hari? >> sreenivasan: as nasa prepares for the launch of atlantis, the last space shuttle, we caught up with miles o'brien at cape canavaral for some thoughts on covering the shuttle program these past 19 years. ray suarez offers a reflection
on the end of britain's "news of the world" and how his work as a young reporter in london brought him unexpectedly to its newsroom. and, during this summer travel season, patchwork nation looks at how local economies that rely on tourism are faring so far all that and more is on our web site: newshour.pbs.org. judy? >> woodruff: and that's the "newshour" for tonight. i'm judy woodruff. >> brown: and i'm jeffrey brown. we'll see you online and again here tomorrow evening with david brooks and ruth marcus, among others. thank you and good night. major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations.
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